Symptoms of a Broken Tailbone

Falling and landing on your tailbone is a nearly universal human experience. These accidents occur suddenly and often hurt, but aside from some pain and bruising, landing on your tailbone usually does not result in permanent damage. 

However, not every tailbone injury involves only bruising. If you are older, have an underlying medical condition, or experience a serious accident, you may suffer from more than temporary pain. You could fracture your tailbone. 

Breaking your tailbone is a serious injury that requires prompt attention. But the symptoms of a broken tailbone are not always obvious.

The Function and Structure of Your Tailbone

Your tailbone is also known as your coccyx. It consists of three to five vertebrae that are fused together and located at the base of your spine. Based on its name alone, you might think that your tailbone serves no practical function and is instead a leftover of the evolutionary process. This is not the case, however.

Your coccyx is a connection point for several important muscles, tendons, and ligaments, such as the sacrospinous ligament, the sacrococcygeal ligament, and parts of the gluteus maximus muscle. The coccyx also works in tandem with other parts of your body to support your weight while you sit up or lean back. 

If your tailbone is significantly injured, you can find even these routine activities to be excruciatingly painful.

How to Know if You Broke Your Tailbone

A car accident, a slip and fall, or other similar circumstances can cause trauma to your coccyx. Unfortunately, it is not always clear whether coccyx trauma is a bruise or a bone fracture, as the symptoms of both injuries are similar to one another. 

These symptoms can include:

  • Constant, dull pain in your lower back and just above your buttocks
  • Swelling and bruising near the tailbone
  • Painful bowel movements or changes in your bowel movements
  • A feeling of numbness or “pins and needles” in your tailbone or down your legs
  • Pain that intensifies while sitting, leaning back, or getting up from a seated position

These symptoms only indicate that your coccyx has suffered some trauma. While the intensity of these symptoms can suggest whether your coccyx is bruised or broken, you will need additional testing to know definitively. 

An X-ray is the quickest and most effective way of checking for a fracture in your coccyx and can be performed at most hospitals.

The difficulty in knowing whether your tailbone is bruised or fractured underscores the need to seek medical evaluation. While the course of treatment may be similar for a broken coccyx and one that is bruised, knowing the extent of your injuries can keep you from exacerbating your injuries. 

For instance, a bruised tailbone requires up to four weeks to heal, while a broken coccyx will need two to three times as long to fully heal.

Never Neglect a Tailbone Injury

Many people don’t realize how serious a tailbone injury is immediately. It can be easy to mistake a broken tailbone for a bruised one. That is why it is vital not to neglect a tailbone injury, even if you believe it’s not severe. 

A broken tailbone can impact your daily life in a range of ways, from preventing you from sitting down for a meal with your family to compromising your ability to drive yourself to work. By seeking prompt medical attention after a tailbone injury, you can ensure you avoid potential complications later.

And if you believe another party was responsible for your tailbone injury in West Palm Beach, FL, make sure to consult a personal injury lawyer to determine whether you are eligible for compensation.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in South Florida

If you’ve been injured in an accident, please contact our experienced personal injury lawyers in Florida at Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today. We have three convenient locations in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.

We proudly serve Palm Beach County, Broward County, and its surrounding areas:

Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – Boca Raton Law Office
7000 W Palmetto Park Rd #500
Boca Raton, FL 33433
(561) 347-7770

Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – Fort Lauderdale Law Office
200 S.E. 6th Street #203
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
(954) 287-0566

Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – West Palm Beach Law Office
319 Clematis St #203
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
(561) 556-7873